France Ratifies Fishing Vessel Safety Agreement

The Cape Town Agreement will take effect 12 months after it has been ratified by 22 states that, collectively, have 3,600 or more fishing vessels of at least 24 meters in length operating on the high seas.

France recently became the ninth country to ratify the International Maritime Organization's Cape Town Agreement. The treaty covers important safety requirements that include radio communications, life-saving equipment and arrangements, emergency procedures, musters, and drills.

The agreement will take effect 12 months after it has been ratified by 22 states that, collectively, have 3,600 or more fishing vessels of at least 24 meters (78 feet) in length operating on the high seas.

Ambassador Nicole Taillefer, permanent representative of France to IMO, presented the instrument of ratification to IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO headquarters in London in late February.

The Cape Town Agreement was adopted at a diplomatic conference held in October 2012 in that South African city. It is to be the first-ever international convention on the safety of fishing vessels, recognizing the differences in design and operation between those vessels and other types of ships. Unless expressly provided otherwise, the provisions apply to new vessels only.

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